If you’ve not decided on your vacation destination yet I’m going to give you some reasons to visit Calgary. Calgary is more than just a cow town and more than the rodeo it is globally famous for, as you’ll discover when you read these reasons to visit Calgary.
In the heart of Calgary stands a tower over 600 feet tall, sporting a 360 degree observation deck. There, you can get a birdseye view of the beautiful city, all the way from the downtown area to the distant Rockies. One level up is the revolving Sky 360 restaurant, which gives you a full view of the city in 45 minutes at the lunch hour or in 60 minutes at dinnertime. It’s easy to see why it’s one of the best reasons to visit Calgary - you can see nearly all of Calvary at once. Be sure to visit the Tourism and Visitor Information Center in the base of the tower to learn about other attractions of Calgary.
Want a hat like the ones seen in the Lonesome Dove, Heartland or the Broken Trail television series? Then you want a Smithbilt hat. The white hat originally produced in the 1940s has become an iconic symbol of Calgary. They can only be purchased in 2 places - from Tourism Calgary or from the Smithbilt factory. Educational tours of the facility are available for groups of individuals or for companies, where you can learn about the hats, the raw materials used to make them, and how they use 1920's machinery to make modern hats. Tours are about $30 per person.
This living history museum allows you to get the feel of what life was really like in the past. Exhibits span time periods from roughly the 1860s to the 1950s and are divided into 4 distinct areas. There’s the Hudson Bay Fur Trading Fort, representing the time around 1864; the Pre-Railway Settlement Village, circa 1880, the railway Prairie Town representing 1910, and the Heritage Town Square area representing the 1920s to the 1950s. In the park are many actual historical buildings, as well as a steam locomotive, a streetcar, and horse-drawn wagons. The staff dress in historical costumes and engage in historical activities.
Near Calgary, located in Dinosaur Valley (also known as the Red Deer River Valley) is the town of Drumheller, home to the world's largest dinosaur model. If this isn’t one of the funnest reasons to visit Calgary then I don’t know what is. At 86 feet in height, you can climb to the top of the dinosaur and look out its mouth to see the Badlands and one of the world’s largest water fountains, spraying water 75 feet into the air. The Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology hosts Canada’s largest collection of dinosaur fossils. Also located here is the Star Mine Suspension Bridge, a pedestrian bridge across the Red Deer River; Reptile World, boasting the largest display of reptiles in Western Canada; and the Little Church, which seats only 6 people.
Built by the North West Mounted Police in 1875, this fort laid the foundation of the city of Calgary. Their purpose was to bring law and order to the West, to befriend the First Nation people in preparation for upcoming treaties that would open the West to settlement, and to stop the whisky trade. Much of the fort was torn down and barracks were constructed, and the 1888 barracks building is still standing. Visitors can tour the barracks, don a Mounted Police uniform or get put behind bars at the interpretive center.
This park is a legacy of the 1988 Winter Olympics. One of the great attractions of Calgary, it continues to be a great place to have fun, whether it’s summer or winter. There are bobsleigh rides (piloted by professionals) that send you ripping down the very track used in the Winter Games. The ride last 80 seconds reaching speeds of up to 60 miles per hour in summer and nearly 70 miles per hour in winter. It is one of only two in the world, so it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience. You can also enjoy North America’s fastest zipline, reaching speeds of 80 mile per hour, which begins off the 90 meter ski jump tower. Not that adventurous? Play a few rounds of mini-golf at the 18-hole course, and be sure to visit Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame.
Glenbow Museum is one of Canada’s largest museums, with over a million artifacts and 28,000 artworks. The core of the collection stems from a lawyer named Eric Harvie, who at 55, learned there was oil on his land. For the next 28 years of his life he dedicated himself to collecting items reflecting Canada’s history, the culture and history of the native peoples, exploration of the frontier, and pioneer settlement. Enjoy the museum’s permanent collection but don’t forget to check their exciting (but temporary) exhibitions.
Well my wannabe cowgirls – as you can see you don’t have wait for buckin’ bronco season for reasons to visit Calgary. Are you ready to shout yee ha?
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